The Orange County Register reported
that the Autospense, an automated dispensary, made its debut Friday -- 4/20
-- at The Dispensary Store in Santa Ana, California.
“Patients are ecstatic they can get meds when they need them instead of waiting until the location opens,” said Lera Nastri, the store’s director, the Daily
Autospense Founder Joe DeRobbio doesn't like the phrase "vending machine." He told the Register that he prefers to call it a "dispensing system."
With its locks, security cameras, and sensors, he said, the Autospense, created by Dispense Labs, bears little resemblance to a break-room snack vendor.
"These are very sophisticated machines," he said.
Dispense Labs LLC, the innovator of Autospense, a division of The Dispensary Group, is committed to identifying solutions for enhancing the legitimacy and accountability within the professional practice of dispensing medical marijuana, the company website
Founded in 2009, according to a company backgrounder
, The Dispensary Group aims to bridge the gap by identifying and creating technological solutions for the medical marijuana industry. The Dispensary Group is the parent company to Dispense Labs LLC.
Takes cash, credit or debit
's website says the process works like this:
After providing the proper documentation, the patient will be issued a pre-approved registration/membership card and have the opportunity to register in an optional finger print scanner system, which enables around-the-clock access to the Autospense machine. The member is granted access and walks into a well secured and camera monitored showroom.
Once inside the secured vending cage the member swipes his/her registration/membership card into the Autospense machine and then the member will then enter a PIN number which they selected when registering.
Once a registration card, pin number, and thumb scan are cleared, according to the Register, they will be able to view a video display of the various types of medical marijuana in the machine for purchase. From the menu, the member selects their medicinal variety and quantity
The member will then select method of payment which may be made with cash, credit or debit which are processed through Autospense
, according to the company website. Once validated, the corresponding Autospense door opens and the member removes their selected medicinal variety.
For after-hours purchases, fingerprint recognition technology offers one more step of security.
Medical marijuana has been allowed in California since voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, the Register reports. However, the use of marijuana remains prohibited under federal laws, and in 2005, the Supreme Court ruled those laws could be enforced in states allowing medical marijuana.
DeRobbio is confident a system like the Autospense can change lawmakers' minds.
"There's a lack of education out there on the legislative level," he said.
DeRobbio told ABC News Radio
: “Medical marijuana, we believe, is here to stay.”